Aguas Frescas are classic Mexican drinks made out fresh fruit, water & sugar. But Agua de Jamaica is made with dried roselle hibiscus flowers infused in hot water and it's just like making iced tea!
This post is to show you how to make Agua de Jamaica and also will give you some tips on how to grow your own plant if you're interested in that. I grew some of these roselle plants last year and it was super easy! Just check out the bottom of this post for those notes.
What exactly is jamaica?
The correct term for Jamaica in English is Roselle (y en Español es rosa de Jamaica) - Hibiscus sabdariffa. The drink it's not made out of those ornamental hibiscus plants like you see in the photos with the drinks (those were just used as props lol).
Jamaica has many health benefits including lowering blood pressure, reduce levels of sugar and fats in blood, reduces inflammation and other amazing uses.
If you're interested in more details, read more about it on this WebMD post.
Where to find dried Hibiscus flowers
Most common grocery stores are starting to carry the dried hibiscus flowers since its' finally starting to become popular for good reasons. But if you can't find them there, try a latin/hispanic grocery store since it's very likely they will carry it.
Your third option would be online. Even Amazon carries it these days 😀
How to make Agua de Jamaica
You only need two ingredients (not counting water) to make this traditional Agua de Jamaica drink: Jamaica dried flowers & sugar
- First we're going to place to 2 cups of dried Jamaica and 8 cups of cold water in a medium pot.
- Bring the jamaica & water to a soft boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add the sugar at this point and stir well until all of the sugar is dissolved. We want to make sure we do this process while jamaica is still hot so that the sugar dissolves easily.
- Add the remaining of the water and let it cool & steep for at least 2 hours (I let mine sit overnight covered on my counter since I like it to have a strong flavor!)
- When ready, just strain it to remove the flowers. Taste for sugar and water and add more if necessary.
That's it! Keep in refrigerator until ready to use and serve over ice.
Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus water)
- 2 cups dried jamaica flowers also known as hibiscus or flor de Jamaica
- 16 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- In a large pot, place the 2 cups of dried Jamaica and 8 cups of water.
- Over medium high heat, bring it to a soft boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Add the sugar and stir well until all of the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the remaining of the water and let it cool (I let mine sit overnight covered on my counter since I like it to have a strong flavor!)
- Strain. Taste for sugar and water and add more if necessary.
- Refrigerate until ready to use. Serve over ice.
Grow your own Roselle Hibiscus plant!!
Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), is usually grown in tropical and subtropical areas (USDA zones 8-11). Roselle plant care is relatively easy! Last year I sowed my seeds in March and harvested the hibiscus calyxes around October/November. Just sow your seeds or plant your cuttings in sandy loam that receives full sun and water regularly.
The beauty is that it does not need much fertilizers but I fed it with fish emulsion at least once a month to keep it happy and healthy.
Tip: This plant does not like the cold but loves the heat! So if you need to protect heat sensitive plants, Roselle Hibiscus is a great plant to grow around them to protect from the blistering summer sun.
I learned how to grow Roselle plant from this website...check it out for more tips if you would love to grow your own!!
My plants from last year! How gorgeous are they?